The Countryside Alliance have sent a briefing note to all peers in the House of Lords ahead of the debate today (Monday 2 July) on the Report from the Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act ‘The countryside at a crossroads: Is the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 still fit for purpose?’ (Lord Cameron of Dillington).
The Countryside Alliance welcomes this important debate on the report from the Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. The Report shone a light on our countryside and how it is treated under the current system of government. When the Alliance gave evidence to the House of Lords Committee we highlighted a number of issues that the Report picks up on, including the proposal for rural proofing to be led by the Cabinet Office, the loss of granular research on rural issues and the need for rural affairs to be fully integrated into all government departments.
The Report’s recommendation that responsibility for rural policy should be transferred from Defra to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government could be a first step towards the countryside being taken seriously. However, unless there is a sea change in government and the civil service, coupled with a greater understanding of the countryside, nothing will change.